Thursday, March 31, 2016

"...You Say Potato And I Say Patahto, I Say Tomato And You Say Benghazi..."

I do more than just a little writing and/or talking about politics.

Between writing on the blog site(s), producing and hosting the various and sundry radio talk shows, the production and hostings of several times a week video blogs and the daily written quick hits on various and sundry social media, there are few hours in the day that pass without one comment or another of a political nature being generated by the guy whose words you are reading right now.

Lately, though, there is one thing that I do very little, if at all.


And that's "engage" others when they have comments to make about my writing and/or talking about politics.

It's not that I don't enjoy a spirited discussion, even an intense debate on the issues of the day and the positions that we all, respectively, take on those positions.

And when I'm hosting live radio talk, it's a little rude, not to mention impractical, to solicit listeners to call in so we can talk about the issues of the day and then decide I don't want to talk to them about it.

So, the "very little, if at all" I mentioned earlier has to do with live radio.

As far as the rest of it, the blogs, the vidcasts and, most of all, social media, I usually simply just read the comments offered and move along, resisting the temptation to pick up any verbal gauntlet or succumb to any baiting done with a turn of phrase or a shot across my bow.

Again, it's not that I'm not down with discussin'.

Frankly, I blame it on Pee Wee Herman.

More on that in a few minutes.

One of the more suddenly common, and, frankly, annoying traits I'm finding in the current culture when it comes to political debate and/or discussion is a little maneuver I've affectionately dubbed, "The Pivot."

It applies to almost any debate and/or discussion and I'll share a little more of that shortly, but, for the sake of explanation, let's use this very, very, very common example.

Those who hate Barack Obama and are impatiently waiting for January 2017 to show up with a frantic, gleeful anticipation that makes waiting for Santa on Christmas Eve seem like watching paint dry are masters at the Obama edition of "The Pivot".

No matter what the topic, issue, problem, controversy, etc, et al, they can find a way to pivot back to, and blame, Obama.

Here's just one of an infinite number of possible examples.

"Well, Patty Duke died somewhat suddenly at just 69, the victim of sepsis, which is a reaction the body has to an infection that can damage vital organs...and she was apparently suffering badly during the final hours of her life...in a hospital near her home in Idaho....she reportedly got the best care available although no one has mentioned whether the family had to pay for that care out of pocket or she was insured, chances are, she was pretty famous and so probably pretty wealthy and able to pay for her own medical care and you've gotta envy her that because my brother in law was in the hospital for a week last month and the bill was outrageous but, of course, he couldn't afford to pay for it out of pocket and he let his insurance lapse when the premiums went up thanks to that damned "Affordable, shu-yeah, right Care thing forced on us by that damn.........wait for it.........OBAMA.."

Obama is not the only go-to when it comes to the pivot, but he is certainly the most well worn and applied.

Lately, though, the other applicants for the lease at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave are finding themselves pivoted to fairly often, as well.

With one exception.

Nobody ever pivots to the Donald.

Fact is, what pivoting gets done these days is very much about pivoting away from Trump and to whoever is handy, headlining and/or hated, depending on person, place and situation.

Which brings us back to why I don't engage others when they have comments to make about my writing and/or talking about politics.

Engaging is a pointless, useless, exercise in futility that comes in the shape of a circle.

As in round and round and round it goes and where it stops, well, actually, it just keeps going round and round and round and round.

We don't honestly discuss Donald with each other.

We simply play the pivot.

Here's an example of how the discussion should go, but doesn't.

And the pivot that shouldn't play a part but does.

THE TOPIC:

Donald says that women who get abortions "should be punished."

THE DISCUSSION:

Do more of us agree, than disagree, with Donald on his stand? Why or why not?

THE PIVOT:

Well, Hillary let those people die in Benghazi, what about that, huh? what about that?

THE TOPIC:

Donald has, to be fair, said very little about the specifics of his plans to "Make America Great Again".

THE DISCUSSION:

Aren't we  all entitled to specifics so that we can all make a fair and informed decision when it comes to voting for, or against, Mr. Trump in November?

THE PIVOT:

Well, Bernie wants to take the money you earn and give it to lazy people, what about that, huh? what about that?

THE TOPIC:

If Donald has not incited violence at his rallies, he has done little or nothing to discourage violence at his rallies.

THE DISCUSSION:

Is it not reasonable to expect that a candidate for the highest office in the land should be a role model and/or set the very best example possible?

THE PIVOT:

Well, Hillary, she's no role model and, pshht, some example, she let those people die in Benghazi, what about that, huh? what about that?

Yeah.

You know what?

You're absolutely right.

What about that?

Here's the answer to that question.

That, in every example used above, has absolutely NOTHING to do with the damn topic or the discussion we should be having about it.

One day last week, I posted on Facebook what was obviously, and intentionally, meant to be a satirical poke at Trump.

I shared the link to a news story about a nurse in New York who lost her license because it was discovered that, for, God only knows, what reason, she had been taking snapshots of patient's penises and showing them to her co-workers.

Hey, slow day in the ER, okay, c'mon, there's only so much Wheel Of Fortune you can watch before rigor sets in.

Meanwhile, I posted this impish punchline to the link sharing.

"Sources report that also found in the nurse's possession were pictures of Donald Trump's hands."

Ba.
Dum
Bump.

An acquaintance of mine from a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, posted the following comment in reponse to my little ha ha.

"Come on. I know you don't like the guy. But that's a cheap shot."

First, I know from cheap shots.

And that wasn't even close to a cheap shot.

More simultaneously intelligence insulting, and hilarious, to me, though, was any proximity of any kind of the terms "Donald Trump" and "cheap shot."

My inner reaction to this poster's outer response was double pronged.

"Hey, I was kidding, for criminy's sake."

And...are you fucking kidding me?

After a moment or two, I realized what I was dealing with here.

It wasn't overt or as blatant as many can be, but it was, pretty close to certain, a thinly veiled version of the pivot.

Deflecting any kind of blame, diss, poke, punch and/or criticism of the laugh a minute GOP frontrunner.

I think it took me a minute to get it because there was no mention of Benghazi.

Here's the point.

We should having, and deserve to have, honest, open, if necessary, passionate discussions about this man and his policies, qualifications, promises, pledges, etc.

Those discussions are not taking place.

When the need arises to discuss and/or debate if your three and my three can possibly add up to six, the conversation almost immediately turns to why seven is a lucky number.

You are not completely wrong about every political opinion you have.

Nor completely right.

And I am not completely wrong about every political  opinion I have.

Nor completely right.

But you and I are never going to enjoy the benefits of combining our rights and minimizing our wrongs because we don't talk right and wrong.

We don't discuss.

We don't debate.

We just pivot.

In a manner that would make the master of the pivot beam with pride and joy.

Pee Wee Herman.




Last time I checked, though, "I know you are, but what am I?" never really accomplishes anything.






 


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

"...Surgery With A Sledge Hammer....Not Exactly The Cure We're Hoping For..."

Time for today's rimshot ha ha.

It ain't the school.

It's the principal of the thing.

Thank you.

I'll be here all week.

Try the veal.

Meanwhile...

It ain't Donald Trump, either.

Exactly.

Every screaming, screeching, in your face obvious piece of evidence to the contrary.

From the thinly veiled racism to the unveiled misogyny to the comprehensively complete and utter lack of knowledge about anything even remotely having to do with anything other than knowing how to "make a great deal".





And just to save time here, spare me the lame, tired, yeah, yeah, yeah rebuttal that comes in the form of "well, uh, yeah, but, uh, what do you expect from those lib-tards like Andrea Mitchell and Chuck Webb and, uh, you know, uh..."

The messenger, in this case, has absolutely nothing to do with the message.

If Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck themselves were to gang up and become the panel on this topic, the insights, or lack of them, coming out of the Donald's medulla would be exactly the same.

Now, in the last couple of days, the plot, much like the Trump thought process, thickens.

PS...don't be put off by the Stephen Hawking sound of the narrator here. The article itself appears in its entirety following the video.





A former PR operative for the Donald Trump campaign published a contrite open letter Monday, expressing her sympathy with Trump supporters whom she says were, like her, hoodwinked by a candidate whose bid for the White House was never very serious — and is now turning dangerously plausible.
 
“I don’t think even Trump thought he would get this far,” Stephanie Cegielski wrote in a post published on XOJane. “And I don’t even know that he wanted to, which is perhaps the scariest prospect of all.”

Cegielski was communications director for the Trump-aligned Super-PAC Make America Great Again. She gave an interview to the Washington Free Beacon last week, in which she criticized the real estate mogul for his vitriolic remarks and lack of substance. She regularly mocks the candidate on her Twitter account for his ignorant and uncouth remarks.


“He certainly was never prepared or equipped to go all the way to the White House, but his ego has now taken over the driver’s seat, and nothing else matters. The Donald does not fail. The Donald does not have any weakness. The Donald is his own biggest enemy,” she wrote.

Her post continues:

What was once Trump’s desire to rank second place to send a message to America and to increase his power as a businessman has nightmarishly morphed into a charade that is poised to do irreparable damage to this country if we do not stop this campaign in its tracks.
I’ll say it again: Trump never intended to be the candidate. But his pride is too out of control to stop him now.
You can give Trump the biggest gift possible if you are a Trump supporter: stop supporting him.
He doesn’t want the White House. He just wants to be able to say that he could have run the White House. He’s achieved that already and then some. If there is any question, take it from someone who was recruited to help the candidate succeed, and initially very much wanted him to do so.
Cegielski argued that the onetime reality TV star has been playing a fictional character since he launched his campaign — albeit a fictional character that has succeeded in harnessing the very real and righteous anger of millions of voters. “We are all angry — and we all have a right to be,” she concluded. “But Trump is not our champion.”



Since late last year, I've been talking on the radio shows about that anger there.

And, more than once, I've ruffled a feather or two by not only putting words in people's mouths, but by telling people what it is they mean when they say what they say.

Both actions undeniably rude and inappropriate.

And, hey....I'm not even a Fox News contributor.

But, the point I was making then, and the point that I'm re-making now, is that my belief has been for a long time now that it's not Donald Trump himself that people who so passionately and/or naively, support and endorse as it is what Trump represents.

A big ol' pin that will, finally, mercifully, once and for all, pop that big damn balloon filled with the mixture of hot air, methane gas and world class bullshit better known as the Federal Government.

And, just so we're clear, let me reiterate something I've also been saying publicly since, at least, late last year.

I get it.

I'm with ya.

I'm jiggy wid it.

At least in so far as the annoyance and frustration and, yes, anger is concerned.

But, as I said just the other day to my friend Dave, as we discussed this subject and he shared, once again, with me, how he sees Trump as a bad bargain but the only bargain worth buying given the other choices...

It is the right time. It is the right place. And Donald Trump is exactly the wrong guy.

To paraphrase an old stand up bit from our Sledge O Matic buddy Gallagher, "if a twelve inch hemorrhoid is your problem, a six inch hemorrhoid is no answer."

At this point along the campaign trail, though, none of that seems to matter.

Or resonate.

Or put a dent in the Trump Train as it roars down the track toward Cleveland, possibly toward 1600 Pennsylvania Ave and, then, let's just talk a little inconvenient truth, okay, even possibly toward the end of life on the planet as we know it.

Because the votes, like the hits, just keep on comin'.

Which brings us back around to the school.

And the principal of the thing.

Andy Borowitz is an American writer, comedian, satirist, and actor. He is also a New York Times-bestselling author who won the first National Press Club award for humor.

He posted this meme online the other day.





Personal favorite moment from an episode of "Big Bang Theory".




I've run into this issue more than once as I share, or inflict, depending on your position in the political scheme of things here, my take on Trump and why people are lining up behind him like he was Forrest Gump about to go for a run.

I understand I have no one to blame but myself for any abuse that gets hurled in my direction.

Smart ass-ness/know it all-ism doesn't come cheap, ya know?

And if absolutely pressed to consider any, every and all outcomes, I would have to, in fairness, admit that I simply do not know to an unarguable certainty what would happen if Trump did end up solemnly swearing.

All I can offer that I do know is what history teaches us all.

One way or another....

...we all learn.

Sooner...or later.

I'm holding out hope that, this time around, it's the former rather than the latter.

And I believe that Donald Trump's success was, and is, both inevitable and understandable.

Because he has masterfully tapped into the wave of anger and resentment a lot of Americans are feeling these days.

Given the way our representatives have conducted themselves in recent years, a perfectly legitimate school of thought.

And if I had a dollar for every time someone summed up their support of Trump by saying "he speaks his mind", well, I wouldn't be here talking to you right now.

I'd be overseeing the building of my beach mansion in Malibu.

But the Presidency of the United States requires, in the global community in which we all now live, whether we like it or not,  much, much more skill and craftsmanship than a blunt tool can offer.

And a blunt tool is pretty much all we're likely to get if the Donald gets elected.

Should that actually happen, the joke could very easily end up being on us.

Because the danger isn't the Donald Trump school of thought.

It's the principal of the thing.

Thank you.

I'll be here all week.

Try the veal.




 



Monday, March 28, 2016

"...Keep Hands And Feet Away From Mower Blades...And Flying Mower Blades..."

Apparently, that whole "cold, dead fingers" thing is now officially out of fashion.

More on that in a minute.

First, in our news today...





Well, let's get the tasteless, but inevitable, silliness out of the way.


1.What's a redneck's last words?

"Hey!.....watch this..."

What's his buddy's last words?

"Awww, hell....I can do that..."


2. ...and this week's winner of the Darwin award......

3.  Guns don't kill people.....people who first shoot a lawn mower filled with Tannerite that blows up and takes off their leg kill people.


Okay.

Cleansing breath.

Ooops..

Hold on.

A little more silliness to dispense with.






Wow.

By the way, if you're an aspiring late night comedy writer, there's one line in that video there that just screams for a couple dozen punch lines.

Let's hear that one again....

"....forcing attendees to leave their firearms at home puts tens of thousands of people at risk both inside and outside of the convention site...."

As opposed, of course, to the tens of thousands of people who stand a pretty good chance of getting critically wounded or killed if and/or when things turn to shit during the convention.

Like, should, for example, Donald not get the nomination on the first ballot.

Or...at all.

Again....

Wow.

Follow up stories on the pistol packin petition now quote knowledgeable sources as saying that the petition, in fact, simply started out as a joke

The instigators of the "joke" said they were hoping for about 5000 signatures.

Or, more accurately, shooting for about 5000 signatures.

To the moment, they've bagged about 30,000 signatures.

Give or take.

Bang, bang, shoot, shoot.

So, turns out that the petition, that started out as a joke to make a point, has somehow gotten a little out of control.

Which makes the petition, of course, just like the Trump campaign.

That started out as a joke to make a point.

And has somehow gotten a little out of control.

For those of you who are primed, ready and/or half cocked in anticipation of firing back at me as I lock and load and pull the trigger on yet another 2nd Amendment debate, holster your weapon there, buckaroo and keep your powder dry.

No debate being detonated here today.

First, because even a blind man could see that those debates almost always fall on deaf ears.

Mixed metaphors, notwithstanding.

But, mainly, because all the conversation in the world isn't going to change a couple of chiseled in stone attitudes about life in these here United States in these here days of getting ready to make America Great Again.

What Patrick Henry said.

"Give me liberty...or give me death..."

And what Forrest Gump said.

"Stupid is as stupid does."

As to the liberty and death thing, only time will tell if giving Republicans the liberty to lock and load at convention time will result in any death.

As to the stupid thing?

Well, for that, I think you've gotta go back into the woods with your buddies and your lawn mower and your Tannerite.

And your rifle.

You know.

To shoot that thang.

And blow that shit up.

Meanwhile, when the dust and leaves and shrapnel all settle, only one thing will be fifty caliber clear.

That whole "cold dead fingers" thing is, obviously and totally, out of fashion.

And in its place, a new rallying cry for those who live by, and limp by, the gun.

"We'll give our right arm...wait, make that right leg....before we let them take our guns."

Fun pop quiz..

What rhymes with pathetic?

Prosthetic.

Again...

Wow.







Saturday, March 26, 2016

"...May Cause Drowsiness, Lack Of Appetite, Muscle Spams Or World War III...."

Old joke.

Guy stumbles and trips over a thousand foot high cliff...and the fall doesn't kill him.

The landing, though...

Hold that thought.

And check this out





Now, allowing for that oldie but goodie about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions, here's something I've offered, more than once, on the radio shows with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek.

Doesn't take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist or a Rhodes Scholar to see the serious lack of "benefit" of a drug designed to cure your particular ill when 45 seconds of a 60 second commercial for that drug is taken up telling you all the ways that particular drug can dent, damage and/or kill you.

Common sense, at the very least, would have you thinking twice....uh, three....no, actually make that four or five times before popping one of those precocious little pills in your pie hole.

Right? Yes?

Well, for heaven's sake, of course.

You're not an idiot.

Okay.

Now, let's try this.

Your workplace, once the home of your dream job, has become more of a nightmare in recent weeks and months. Working conditions have deteriorated drastically, morale has plummeted to the point where you're thinking the old country witty "been down so long, looks like up to me".

In short, things are not good and you are not only angry and frustrated about having to put up with it throughout the majority of your waking hours, you are, for the first time in your professional life, seriously thinking about leaving the only job you've ever really loved, let's even say for the sake of our little example here, that it's the only job you've ever had.

Suddenly, though, you find yourself given the green light to find and hire a new general manager for your company.

And you have found one you think will absolutely turn things around.

This potential workplace savior is highly experienced in the managerial field, boasting a long and diverse list of accomplishments.  You're particularly impressed with their attitude, not just your garden variety "can do", but a direct, unflinching, maybe even, fair to say, blunt "WILL do" attitude.

Your gut is telling you that this is someone who will get things done like things have never gotten done before.

Now, you're asked, by those who are interested, to describe this potential git er' done candidate for the job in 60 seconds.

All the qualities you admire and the traits you find attractive in this applicant take you, give or take, 15 seconds.

Thing is, though, that, to be completely honest and paint a true and fair picture, you find that you need 45 seconds of your 60 to point out some not so appealing traits.

What is seemingly a way above average amount of self confidence on their part gives off just the slightest hint of arrogance, even superiority, arguably a thin line in successful people, but still enough to make you just a bit uneasy.

You notice, as well, by the answers to your questions and the general tone of the conversation, that your candidate there seems to dislike the questions you're asking, you're even getting a little sense that they're not even crazy about being questioned in the first place, as if its some kind of affront to their skills and talents, as if you should simply take them at their word when they tell you that no matter what the problem is with your company, they're going to make those problems go away, they're going to turn things around, they're going to get it done.

And, for just a few seconds, again, just being honest, you have to admit that there are a couple, well, wait, make that a few things about this potential leader of your organization that you simply don't like. They make comments about women and minorities and gender groups that make you uncomfortable, comments that some might want to write off as the price one has to pay sometimes to recruit extraordinary talent, but comments that trouble you, nevertheless.

And, one last nagging little thing about this particular dynamic managerial applicant.

By their answers, observations and general comments, you realize that underneath whatever exterior confidence they exude in the ramped up atmosphere of an important interview and how attractive that confidence might be, there is a written in stone belief on their part that they are never, ever, ever wrong in any way, shape or form at any time about anything that they hope to do, want to do, expect to do.

Or do.

Hmmm.

45 seconds to describe arrogance, intolerance, impatience with others opinions, an appearance of self infallibility, even, admittedly, a little sexism, a little misogyny and, yes, be honest with yourself, some racism.

And 15 seconds to describe the skills, the talents and potential that this candidate, if chosen to be the new general manager will, no matter what the problem is with your company,  make those problems go away, turn things around, get it done.

Make your company great again.

 Doesn't take a brain surgeon or a rocket scientist or a Rhodes Scholar to see the serious lack of "benefit" of  hiring someone when 45 seconds of a 60 second description of them is taken up talking about ways in which they might actually further damage an already damaged situation.

Common sense, at the very least, would have you thinking twice....uh, three....no, actually make that four or five times before popping into a voting booth and pressing that button next to their name.

Right? Yes?

Well, for heaven's sake, of course.

You're not an idiot.

Pressing that button would, obviously, be a great big leap of faith.

From what feels like a thousand feet high.

Not to worry.

The fall won't kill you.

The landing, though...













Thursday, March 24, 2016

"...If All Else Fails, Let's Talk Coin Toss..."

Had a few minutes to kill the other day.

And, not feeling particularly in the mood to check Facebook or re-check Facebook or watch any and/or all episodes of any and/or all versions of Law and Order on TBS, TNT, WE or Sundance, I decided to take a few minutes to contribute something to mankind.

Here you go.

Let's put a stop to the silliness, wackiness, oh, hell, let's just call it what it is, the God awful, gnarly mess of the American political process, most especially where it pertains to the way we elect a President of the United States.

Yes, I know, you're thinking, my God, don't I realize what a complex labyrinth we're talking about here and what it would take to revamp a system so multi-layered, so intricately designed and implemented that there are thousands of books and, probably, hundreds of college level courses that deal only with that system itself?

Sure I did.

And, it turns out, actually, not so much.

And, by "not so much", I'm talking about what it would take to revamp a complex labyrinth of a system so multi-layered, so intricately designed and implemented that there are thousands of books and, probably, hundreds of college level courses that deal only with that system itself.

Here's what it would take.

And, only because it's an election year and any candidate worth his pillar of salt would go to the time and trouble of having one of his or her people go to the time and trouble of coming up with, say, a "five point plan" to save the nation and/or mankind, I feel like I should get in the spirit of things and offer my "what it would take" here this way.

My two point plan.

1.  Eliminate the existing primary/caucus system.

2.  Eliminate the Electoral College.

There you go.

All done.

Now I didn't just fall off the turnip truck and, no, I'm not crazy.

My mother didn't have me tested, but there were no tests for crazy when I was a kid.

Back then, we were just told to shut up, sit up straight, eat our vegetables, clean our rooms and don't be crazy or else.

And, the "or else" was largely about a "when your father gets home" kind of thing.

In a time when that kind of thing had some clout.

Long before kids had Child Services, child rearing "experts" and an expectation of a trophy just for showing up to neuter that clout.

As far as elaboration of the fine points of my two point plan are concerned, there are, actually, four ways that could go.

Let's call that my four point option plan.

1.  I could talk for hours about the minutiae of every little nuance of every little shred, shard  and/or sliver of the primary points in a manner guaranteed to either turn you off completely, drive you away in droves or send you clicking your way back to Facebook and/or any and/or all episodes of any and/or all versions of Law and Order on TBS, TNT, WE or Sundance,

2.  I could simply fall back on the fashionable, apparently very popular, explanatory style of Donald Trump and just tell you "hey, I'm gonna just do it, okay. And it will be great. I'm gonna make a great deal and it will be great. Cause I'm just gonna do it, okay?"

3.  I could send you in the direction of some well written essays that echo my two point plan and offer a little more detail than I'm inclined to offer you here. (PS...a link to one of those articles is included at the end of this piece)

4.  I could give you a simple little synopsis of both points of my original two point plan.

Yeah, let's go with that.

Presented, of course, in a manner that assures as much comprehension as possible, given the current American attention span and the fact that it's been almost three, maybe four, minutes since I told you what the two point plan is.

Point number one.

Eliminate the existing primary/caucus system.

Election year 2016, with its endless, and seemingly perpetual, cavalcade of debates, town halls, forums, etc, etc, yada, blah, blah, ad nauseum has made it clear we need a way to whittle down the choices for the two main candidates as soon, for the love of God, as humanly possible. The existing primary/caucus system just drags that out.

And drags and drags and drags.

And tries to create a clear picture for us by taking thousands of little tiles, shaking them up in one of those big drums they used to use to pick contest winners on TV, drawing them out handfuls at a time, and then throwing them at a sticky board in hopes that clear picture will emerge all on its own.

There's an oldie but goodie metaphor involving a wall and throwing shit against it that rings a bell here, but let's stay on point.

Point one of the two point plan calls for elimination of the existing primary system by replacing with a simple, single activity.

National Primary Day.

Any and all of the qualified candidates (and how do we qualify them?....people, please, look around you, when have we ever "qualified" anyone?") would be on the ballot at your local fire hall, school cafeteria, wherever you usually cast your ballot and you, yes, you, you crazy properly registered, voter ID carrying member of that one of a kind mob, "the American people" would vote for your top two favorites.

Of course, if we wanted to increase voter turnout by making it more fun, we could incorporate some of the more well known methods of eliminating contestants and/or choosing winners in our culture.

Spin a Price Is Right prize wheel.

Have the candidates participate in a Survivor-esque tribal council, "vote their ass" off the island/ballot challenge of some kind.

Oh. Wait, here's a fun one.

Have the candidates give the first thirty seconds of their stump speeches and we either hit that big red button to turn our big red chairs around.

Or we don't.

All I would demand in any of those scenarios would be the prohibiting, in any way,  of the presence of Ryan Seacrest.

"and...your top two favorite candidates...........................right after the break."

Once the votes are tabulated, bada bing.

In the words of the noted political analyst, Agatha Christie, "then, there were two."

Point number two.

Eliminate the Electoral College.

This debate has been going on for, literally, decades now. And while the original premise leading to the original concept of it was appropriate for its time, (Google it and read about it if you're unaware or uninformed) the concept of the Electors and their College needs to go the way of the Pony Express, the 8 track tape and any of that crap that Seth McFarlane keeps churning out.

Yeah, I know, McFarlane's crap is current and contemporary, but as long as we're tossing out crap...

The two remaining candidates, chosen on that National Primary Day that we just talked about, like, really, just two minutes or so ago, would be on the Election Day ballot.

And we, the people, the whole people and nothing but the people, so help us, God, would choose between those two.

What? Do the big red chair thing again?

Grow up. Electing a President is serious business.

Let's not turn this thing into a circus, okay?

First, our status as a shining example of the dignified, passionate, but intelligent, choice of the leadership of the free world is to be maintained at all times.

And it's the circus that the thing has become that we're trying to do away with here.

One last thought.

Many of you are probably wondering why I didn't use my time and talents to tackle some of the more pressing challenges of life in the year 2016 and chose, instead, to take on revamping of our presidential election system.

Due respect, it's a silly question.

Because I told you at the outset.

I had just a few minutes to kill.




http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/23/we-should-scrap-state-primaries-presidential-race








Monday, March 21, 2016

"...Relax, If The Cuba Deal Goes South, We'll Just Send Freddie Corelone Down There With A Suitcase..."

It's not often you can say everything you need to say by saying nothing.

But you can, you know.

It's a little technique I've decided to call...

No words necessary.

Among the more vocal critics of Barack Obama's historic trip to Cuba this week, one of the more strident is Dan Bongino.

Bongino is a former employee of NYPD, a former Secret Service agent, a former candidate for Congress and a former candidate for the U.S. Senate.

He currently spends his professional hours as a conservative talk radio host, conservative news talk television contributor and writing on his experiences as all of the aforementioned "formers" as well as his egregiously obvious unhappiness and dissatisfaction with everything and anything currently being said in this country not being said by a conservative voice.

I met Bongino, briefly, several years ago when he was running for Congress and came into the radio station I was affiliated with, at the time, to record some campaign spots. It was only by happenstance that I was standing in the studio when Bongino came in, the production manager had stepped out and so I was happy to flip a couple of switches and push a couple of buttons so the man could record his spots and be on his way without being inconvenienced.

We made very brief small talk and didn't discuss any specific political matters, but I remember that my impression of the man was positive. There was something in the way of a vibe or sensation that this guy might be something more than the same old same old.

I've kept an eye and ear on the man since that day two years ago, primarily out of the curiosity that naturally results from personally knowing someone in the limelight and, from an essentially "outside looking in" P.O.V. watched the evolution of both his public persona and his dogmatic presentation of it.

For my tastes, he's always been just a shade too much "The End Is Near" when it comes to expressing his opposition to the other guy's power and politics. Most especially the power and politics of Barack Obama.  But I have no way of knowing whether that's simply where he was headed anyway or whether it's the result of some of the inevitable sense of clout, and accompanying drama, that often, also inevitably, comes with finding oneself in a limelight.

As always, don't take my word for it. Check out his Facebook page or his other writings and judge for yourself.

Despite what a lot of the Chicken Littles have been squawking about since November of 2008, your freedom to do that, along with pretty much every other freedom that was in place in October of 2008, is still good to go.

In recent weeks, though, in fact, now, even in recent days, what I'm gleaning from Bongino's comments and commentaries is a pretty angry, even virulent abandonment from any cabin on any deck of the good ship, U.S.S Loyal Opposition.

There is absolutely nothing loyal to be found in his opposition.

And it may be only my perception, but, in keeping with the irrefutable truth that perception is reality, what I 'm seeing is a very passionate man who, with passionate beliefs and, even allowing for the best of intentions, isn't contributing anything to the dialogues but more logs.

The kind that make a fire rise higher and hotter and faster and spread more quickly but not necessarily so much to light the way as to simply slash and burn.

Which brings us to Cuba.

And this picture posted on Bongino's Facebook page.





Bongino captioned the picture as follows.

"No words necessary."

Admittedly, my first, instinctive, autonomic reaction to Dan's delivery was a chuckle.

As in, "yeah, right, no words necessary, but, Katie, bar the door, baby and get ready for the tsunami of words that's already roarin' down the valley."

Or comment threads from sea to shining sea as the case may be.

Upon a little reflection, though, I recognized another inner reaction.

This one more of the "really.....Dan?.......again?......this is all you got?......"

More of the bashing for the sake of the bashing, more of the glass not even half full, God forbid, for that matter, there be anything in the glass at all but some old and stale bitters at the very bottom?

Not a single, solitary, almost invisible thread of a glimmer of anything other than the same vitriol and venom and vindictiveness and viciousness very very badly disguised as victory for the causes of truth, justice and the American way?

Really?........Dan?........

This is all you got?

The actual comment thread that followed the original posting was as predictable as the arrival of another selfie of Kim Kardashian's breasts every 72 to 96 hours.

Bitchin', bashin' and trashin'.

Not to be confused with the other Kardashian sisters.

And right there on the front lines of the flame throwin', the former Secret Service agent, former Congressional candidate, former Senatorial candidate himself.


Chris Keddy Cuba is a beautiful place, full of great and friendly people. Don't let your media provide your opinions for you. Check it out and see for yourself smile emoticon


Daniel Bongino
Daniel Bongino Sure Chris. That's why hundreds of thousands of people construct boats from garbage to escape Cuba. Great analysis.

Raymond Nudals
Raymond Nudals you can see how beautiful cuba is just from this picture. I've seen less dilapidated buildings torn down.

Louis Pedrero
Louis Pedrero Perhaps he meant the scape and terra, but most certainly not the infrastructure, government, and all other man made items...

Erik Stanger
Erik Stanger All the Cuban dissidents are in prison for the Obama visit. Great place. Gimme a break.

Jur Amsbaugh
Jur Amsbaugh If there were so many great people, they would have thrown out the Castros decades sgo.

Teresa Holmes Taylor
Teresa Holmes Taylor Erik, that was exactly what I was going to say.

Steve Nassi
Steve Nassi Really!!!

Amy Rogers Hunter
Amy Rogers Hunter It's not the "friendly people" there that are the problem. It's their oppressive leaders, and our leader wants to be their BFF.🙄

LeRoy Rice
LeRoy Rice I pray our country makes it through the next nine months. And the we make a better decision this next election !
 
 
 
Those pearls swine-ishly offered up by the villagers, torches at the ready, apparently not sufficient,  second verse, same as the first.
 
 
 
Walter Diaz Mister Obama stood up on a place that happens to have a figure of El Che. I don't see any issue with that. Sir, does your Iphone say "Made in China"? if so, then shut up.
 
David Forney
David Forney You cannot be that naïve

Daniel Bongino
Daniel Bongino He is that naïve
 
 
I think it was Bongino's last comment there, "he is that naive'" combined with the snark of this "no words necessary" caption of the Cuba picture that finally brought me to Def Con 1 in terms of offering up a little SEP P.O.V.

First, I'm not a fan of the school that teaches the way to counter an unreasonable assertion is to load up and fire back with an equally unreasonable assertion.

I have no academic credentials specifically earned in the matter, but my own life experience has taught me that "you're stupid, no, you're stupid, no, you're stupid, no, you're stupid" is generally ineffective in both the short term and long run when it comes to moving the large rock of progress forward.

And one of the more commonly used, but inevitably useless, if not damaging, methods used by those whose primary goal is to have their opinion declared the winner is to drape that opinion in a cloak of pseudo-credibility, even faux resume', as if expertise alone automatically validates a perspective, period, no questions asked.
 
In this case, for example, while I can't claim professional proximity to Presidents on my own CV, I'm not sure that running along side the limo and being prepared to take a bullet qualifies one as an indisputable expert on global relations and/or geopolitics.
 
As far as Obama opening up talks with Cuba after fifty plus years, I don't claim to know what's going to happen as he proceeds.
 
I can, though, with not a moment's hesitation owing to a lack of credentials, confidently predict what will happen if he does not.
 
Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
 
With, of course, the possible, even probable, exception of the naysayers gleaming, gloating and, of course, naysaying.
 
Until their guy gets the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave back and then, oh, well, then, it's a whole new kettle of fish, isn't it?
 
Or stack of Cuban tobacco, as the case may be.
 
And if the agenda of those opposed to the Cuba outreach isn't simply vindictive, temper tantrum throwing, foot stomping, take their ball and go home political, then why aren't the brighter minds of the opposition not giving even a micro-second's thought to the possibility that perhaps what's in play here isn't simply, to their way of thinking, another page from the reviled Obama playbook but, is, in fact, an oldie but goodie from that master of the playing field himself, Sun Tzu?
 
"Keep your friends close...but keep your enemies closer."
 
And why, while we're on a why roll here, aren't the brighter minds of the opposition considering the possibility that the strategy isn't necessary being read from the brazen Book of Barack but, is, in fact, borrowed cleverly and even a little deviously, from the writings of Mario Puzo, who had the character Frankie Pentangeli offer up this little marinara of maneuvering in "The Godfather-Part II"?
 
"Your father did business with Hyman Roth....your father respected Hyman Roth....but your father never trusted Hyman Roth..."
 
I don't make it a rule to engage or enter the comment threads of this kind of "dialogue" for several reasons.
 
First, I have other means to express my opinion. You're reading one of them right now.
 
Second, I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to put even a pinky toe into the tar pit of "you're stupid, no, you're stupid"....oh, wait.....2016 update......make that "you're naive, no, you're naive, no, you're naive."
 
Third, because so many, too many, "comment threads" in social media today offer very little wheat in the form of informed dissent, enlightened debate, civil discourse and/or productive conversation.
 
Actually they offer nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero.
 
But they offer a whole lotta chaff in the form of bicker, banter, bitchin' and bluster.
 
You'd think there'd be a lot, lot, lot less of that.
 
After all, take it from Dan Bongino.
 
No words necessary.
 
 
 
 





Sunday, March 20, 2016

"...Doctor, It Hurts When I Vote This Way...Well......."

Step right up and git yer' campaign slogan here!

We got yer "Make America Great Again."

We got yer "Fighting For Us".

We got yer "Feel The Bern".

Wait. Hold the phone.

And stop the presses.

I've got a brand new campaign slogan of my own.

"Mommy, Make It Stop."

70's sitcom star Scott Baio has publicly endorsed Donald Trump for President.

First, let's get straight to it and get all the ba-dum-bumps out of the way.

"Chachi Loves Donald".

"Charles Wants Trump In Charge".

That's about it, right?

I mean, the guy has done other things in his life besides two sitcoms but in the great big scheme of things of which the average Joe, Jane and/or Kimye might be aware, that pretty much covers it.

Okay.

Now.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, we are free to speak our minds, land of the free, home of the brave....

Here's a couple of comments about Mr. Baio's endorsement, pulled at random from the predictably numerous comments about Mr. Baio's offered up on the ol' social media.

Hollywood conservatives support trump the chump. Does ANYONE really give a flying fuck what they think? I know I don't. Most of theze folks are actors or actresses (so-called celebrities) R entitled 2 their opinion, but who R theze folks that actually listen to them? JeTHus creeping shit we have some mighty dumb, naive, downright ignorant (& apparently proud of it) folks in this country. Bet most of them vote republican too. I DO exercise my right 2 free speech but also MUST start utilizing my "right" 2 remain silent, as in SHUT the FUCK up. With this off my manly hairless chest, I conclude with...that's all I got at this "moment" in time...just trying to keep in real compared 2 what yall...


meanwhile....on the other side of the short campaign bus...


thank you Scott Baio!!! There are many more like him out there...We need You NOW to Speak Out...This may be your Greatest Part EVER...Many Celebrities work for the UN and go to other Countries and Speak Out about the Injustices that happen in those Nations...Why not Speak Up for America...and decry the Injustices that are being Perpetrated on your own American People...by the Politicians...and Greedy Criminal Corporate Cartels who operate under the Color of Law...yet daily Deceive and Rob the unwary or powerless? "To whom much is Given...Much is Required" Use your Status to 'Make America Great Again!' The American People will remember who Stood Up in our Hour of Great Need...Even as We Remember those who were Traitors...such as Jane Fonda...and many others of her ilk! Do the RIGHT Thing...and America will Honour you at the Box Office!!!


 You know, you can have your "in space, no one can hear you scream"s and your "be afraid, very afraid"s.

For sheer terror in this day and age, I'm convinced that there is nothing more frightening than hearing the phrase...

"..the people have spoken."

And while it's a safe bet on my part that you're probably betting that I'm going to chime in on the matter of celebrity endorsements and whether or not they matter a hill of beans in this crazy world, I'm not going to make that bet.

And you shouldn't make that bet, either.

Because I'm not going to chime in on the matter of celebrity endorsements and whether or not they matter a hill of beans in this crazy world.

(They don't, by the way).

No, here's just a simple observation on one of the bedrock (or blockhead, depending on your own SAT scores) principles expressed by one of those most eloquent average Americans whose point of view we all just enjoyed.

"....Why not Speak Up for America...and decry the Injustices that are being Perpetrated on your own American People...by the Politicians....."

Actually, nothing new here. Some tried and true traditional verbs and nouns from the Book Of Americanisms.

"Speak up"...."injustice"....."American people".

I'm especially delighted to see the words "decry" and "perpetrated", though.

You just don't see much of a depth of vocabulary in flag waving fanaticism anymore.

Oh...and let's not forget that most hallowed of harpings, the three word freedom soaked phrase that pays.

"...by the politicians".

We'll get back to that in a minute.

 While we're at it, though, a few highlighted words from the articulate Mr. Baio.

"...He speaks like I speak, he communicates with people very well. I want him, as any one person can do, to go into Washington and blow it up..."

Now I don't know Scott Baio, have never met Scott Baio and he's not even a Facebook friend of mine.

Hey, there's only so many times you can remove the friend request and re-click the friend request and be ignored before you start to get the feeling that it's just not gonna happen, you know what I mean?

But, without knowing any of the behind closed doors secrets that might lurk in Mr. Baio's personality, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and offer that I'm thinking when he talks about wanting to "go to Washington and blow it up", he's speaking metaphorically and not literally.

And for those Trump supporters who show up just hoping for somebody to sucker punch, "metaphorically" means "a figure of speech describing something that's not really gonna happen"

Oh and "literally" means it really is gonna happen.

Thing is though, that both Mr. Baio and our other outstanding orator there have touched on a topic that has been like an American bald eagle bone stuck in my throat for the longest of times now and never more so than as this year's collection of cranks gets even more cranked up than usual when it comes to rearranging the deck chairs on the good ship District of Columbia.

Those oft heard, oft repeated, oft posted and cheered catchphrases like....

"...injustices perpetrated on the American people by the politicians..."

"...go to Washington and blow it up..."

And, of course, the Holy Grail of anti-government hyperbole....

"...throw the bums out.."

In the simplest terms I can offer (because I really want to make every effort to be clearly understood, especially by those Trump supporters who show up just hoping for somebody to sucker punch), here's the thing.

Washington D.C.is not an alien spaceship that suddenly appeared one day out of the clouds in that really cool special effects way the ships in "Independence Day" appeared.

And the politicians are not aliens from that spaceship who are ready to exterminate us.

Washington, D.C. is a city in the United States that was founded by Americans just like you and me.

And the politicians, those "bums" who are perpetrating injustices on we, the people and who we want to throw out or blow up.....where did they come from?

They came from you.

You put them there.

Sometimes more than once.

Check it out.



Old saying.

People hate Congress.

But they love their Congressmen.

Are ya startin' to see the problem here?

Oh, right.

It's not your Congressman that's perpetrating the injustices.

It's mine.

Gotcha.

Tell you what.

I've got a feelin' that you're just as tired of all this bickering "you, no, you, no, you, no, you" as I am.

So what say we finally wise up, team up, work together and put the blame where we both know it totally belongs?

Huh? Yeah? Are you with me?

You are?

Excellent.

Let's go take care of that guy who's causing us all this misery.

Scott Baio.







Friday, March 18, 2016

"...Who Can Take A Sunrise....And Block It With A Wall?..."

A few months ago, I did an entire episode of my Sunday night talk/commentary radio show about what I labeled "America's new deadly sin".

Arrogance.

In a nutshell, I offered up that a lot of the problems that we have as a nation these days have a lot to do with the fact that there is one problem we have that we aren't even close to admitting we have in the first place.

Arrogance.

I'm not the first delightfully articulate, boyishly handsome talking head to point out this little bald eagle in our ointment.

Credit for that goes to writer Aaron Sorkin, the Oscar winning screenwriter of the movies, "Steve Jobs" and "The Social Network", as well as the multiple Emmy winning TV series, "The West Wing".

Mr. Sorkin, for my overtaxed dollar, parked one over the center field fence with this stunningly brilliant monologue, spoken by the character of newscaster Will McAvoy, portrayed by Jeff Daniels in the opening scene of the opening episode of  another Sorkin series, HBO's "The Newsroom".






Somehow not so surprisingly, the response by listeners to my show that night was almost non existent. 

And, as a rule, on a show where all I have to do is say the words "right to bear arms", "Second Amendment", "gun control" and/or "same sex marriage" in any context whatsoever and the phone light up like the White House Christmas tree, the lack of response to a controversial topic, and especially a controversial comment about that topic, generally means only one thing.

People listening might not like what they're hearing, they might even be angered by what they're hearing but they're not calling in to disagree.

Because, stubbornness and hardheadedness notwithstanding, they know the truth when they hear it.

Lately, I've been constructing a corollary to the notion that we are walking wounded these days in large measure because of the arrogance I described, the arrogance so eloquently painted by Aaron Sorkin's words and Jeff Daniels' performance.

It has to do with freedom.

And another of my patented, trademark bumper sticker aphorisms.

The problem with freedom....is that you have to give it to everybody.

And the problem with freedom in America in the year 2016 is that it is, too often, in too many ways, afforded to too many people, freedom without.

Freedom without accountability.

Freedom without responsibility.

Freedom without ability.
Even freedom without respect for that very freedom in the first place.

Freedom handed out along with the  congratulations balloons, potted plants, dollar off baby powder coupons and smudgy teeny tiny footprints on that birth certificate to any and every one born in this country with no other qualification required than that they have just been born in this country.

We never really stop to consider the zaniness bordering on insanity of doling out freedom like a free with every purchase bonus for doing nothing more than being born but we would never, never, ever consider, say, giving a child the keys to the car and a cheerful "have fun" simply, and only, because they just turned 15.

Or hand them a gun and say "good shootin", kiddo."

Well, actually, that happens a lot. But the car thing? No way, Jose'.

Oh and Jose in that context is used as an affectionate nod to the classic silly rhyme we've all used all our lives and is, in no way, intended to denigrate or discriminate against anyone actually named Jose'.

Freedom, meanwhile, is cool.

Freedom is neat-o.

Freedom is bitchin.

And, you know what else freedom is?

C'mon, you've heard it said a million times.

Freedom is sweet.

You've probably said it a million times.

Sweet freedom.

And you know why freedom is sweet?

Because freedom is like sugar.

It's delicious and delightful and makes the flavor of everything in our everyday lives a tasty treat for the whole family.

People from oppressed countries all over the great big world risk life and limb to come here and taste the joys of living in a land where the opportunities and the air...and the freedom is sweet.

Whatcha wanna bet that the first elementary phrase that foreigners wanna learn when they study English is some translation or form of "c'mon and gimme some sugar."

Here's the thing about sugar, though.

As with beautiful falling snow, visits from in-laws and anything having to do with Miley Cyrus, a little goes a long, long way.

And too much?

Well, too much can slow you down, inflame your joints, make you moody, even make you angry, make you fat, make you tired, make you lazy, make you cross that tricky line between life is sweet and life is shit before you can say, hey, honey, pass the sugar.

And the only way to counter the negative effects is to back off, cut back, even get off the sugarland express for awhile.

Or even forever.

But, that's not so easily done, is it?

Cause we all know what else sugar is, don't we?

Might as well face it....we're addicted.

As completely and deeply and monkey on our backs addicted as addicted can be.

To sugar.

And to freedom.

Including the freedom to simply enjoy the freedom.

Without accountability.

Without responsibility.

Without ability.
Even without respect for that very freedom in the first place.

And, as we all and Jenny Craig and Marie Osmond, among others, tell us, giving up that pleasure is  hard, man.

Made even harder by the fact that you gotta admit you've got a problem before you have any chance of finding a solution to that problem.

But that's almost impossible to do.

When you're addicted.

And  you're angry.

So, just like any self respecting addict, you go looking for the quick fix or the easy solution, the one size fits all answer to the problems that have come about because rather than having our freedoms taken away from us, too much freedom, in fact, has been handed out to too many people who don't deserve it, who don't use it with intelligence and in moderation and who simply don't respect it.

They just want it. And then they want more of it.

And somebody slick and savvy about those kind of things comes along and taps into that anger and makes you feel like he understands exactly why you're angry and promises to make it all better.

Doesn't tell you how, exactly, but makes promises that are just too good to turn away from.

The promise that America will soon, once again, be the greatest country in the world.

What this guy says has gotta be true.

After all, it says so right on his cap.

Pretty sweet.

Here's some candy.

Get in the car.